Marriage equality was the most visible theme at the 2011 Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras Parade on Saturday.

With over 130 floats and 8,500 participants, the event highlighted the fact that despite being one of the most gay-friendly countries in the world, same-sex couples still do not have the right to marry in Australia.

Urged by the event’s organisers to “Say Something”, some dressed in drag as brides while floats mocked Prime Minister Julia Gillard, who continues to oppose same-sex marriage rights.

American actress Lily Tomlin took part in the parade in the lead float. Singer Rihanna was spotted backstage at an after party but fans were disappointed that she didn’t perform.

An estimated 300,000 people lined the streets to watch the parade.

Australian TV channel Ten was later forced to apologise when morning news anchor Ron Wilson told Mardi Gras co-chair Peter Urmson that some of the antics in the parade were “disgusting”.

Questioning Urmson on live TV, Wilson said: “On the night there, some of the spectacles you’re seeing, I’m assuming would even make you cringe. It becomes just an exploitation almost of a sexual image rather than trying to explore the diversity of lifestyle.”

“Our community is extremely colourful,” retorted Urmson, “and we celebrate our diversity through…” before being interrupted by Wilson:

“With respect, there’s a difference between colourful and disgusting in some cases.”

Urmson, clearly annoyed, responded: “I don’t think I would agree that any of it was disgusting.”

Get the Mamba Newsletter

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Send this to a friend